Genesis of a zoned granite stock, Seward Peninsula, Alaska

Open-File Report 77-35




A composite epizonal stock of biotite granite has intruded a diverse assemblage of metamorphic rocks in the Serpentine Hot Springs area of north-central Seward Peninsula, Alaska. The metamorphic rocks include amphibolite-facies orthogneiss and paragneiss, greenschist-facies fine-grained siliceous and graphitic metasediments, and a variety of carbonate rocks. Lithologic units within the metamorphic terrane trend generally north-northeast and dip moderately toward the southeast. Thrust faults locally juxtapose lithologic units in the metamorphic assemblage, and normal faults displace both the metamorphic rocks and some parts of the granite stock. The gneisses and graphitic metasediments are believed to be late Precambrian in age, but the carbonate rocks are in part Paleozoic. Dating by the potassium-argon method indicates that the granite stock is Late Cretaceous. The stock has sharp discordant contacts, beyond which is a well-developed thermal aureole with rocks of hornblende hornfels facies. The average mode of the granite is 29 percent plagioclase, 31 percent quartz, 36 percent K-feldspar, and 4 percent biotite. Accessory minerals include apatite, magnetite, sphene, allanite, and zircon. Late-stage or deuteric minerals include muscovite, fluorite, tourmaline, quartz, and albite. The stock is a zoned complex containing rocks with several textural facies that are present in four partly concentric zones. Zone 1 is a discontinuous border unit, containing fine- to coarse-grained biotite granite, that grades inward into zone 2. Zone 2 consists of porphyritic biotite granite with oriented phenocrysts of pinkish-gray microcline in a coarse-grained equigranular groundmass of plagioclase, quartz, and biotite. It is in sharp, concordant to discordant contact with rocks of zone 3. Zone 3 consists of seriate-textured biotite granite that has been intruded by bodies of porphyritic biotite granite containing phenocrysts of plagioclase, K-feldspar, quartz, and biotite in an aplitic groundmass. Flow structures, pegmatite and aplite segregations, and miarolitic cavities are common in the seriate-textured granite. Zone 4, which forms the central part of the complex, consists of fine- to medium-grained biotite granite and locally developed leucogranite. Small miarolitic cavities are common within it. Eight textural facies have been defined within the complex, and mineralogic, petrographic, modal, and chemical variations are broadly systematic within the facies sequence. Study of these variations shows that the gradational facies of zones l and 2 systematically shift toward more mafic compositions inward within the complex. Seriate-textured rocks of zone 3 are similar in composition to those of zone 2, but porphyritic rocks of zone 3 and rocks of zone 4 mark shifts to more felsic compositions. These late-crystallizing felsic rocks are products of an interior residual magma system. This system was enriched in water and certain trace elements including tin, lithium, niobium, lead, and zinc. The complex as a whole has higher concentrations of these elements than many other granites. The nature of this geochemical specialization is particularly well demonstrated by the trace-element composition of biotite. The crystallization history of the pluton was complex. The available data suggest that this history could have included: (1) chilling and metasomatic alteration adjacent to the contact, (2) in-situ crystallization in several marginal facies accompanied by some transfer of residual constituents toward interior parts of the pluton, (3) slight upward displacement of magma that was subjacent to the crystallized walls, accompanied by disequilibrium crystallization and local vapor saturation, (4) upward displacement of part of the residual water-rich interior magma, accompanied by rapid loss of a separated vapor phase, and (5) displacement of the margins of the pluton by normal faults, accompanied by loss of an exsolved vapor phase from th

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Genesis of a zoned granite stock, Seward Peninsula, Alaska
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey,
xv, 188 p. :ill., maps (1 fold. in pocket) ; scale 1:31,680; 28 cm.